Barnes: Vols "haven't had the edge" they had defensively last year

For the first time this season, Rick Barnes met with the media on Monday following a conference loss.

After the Vols 86-69 defeat at No. 4 Kentucky on Saturday, Barnes gave a candid assessment of what his team needs to do in order to get back on track.

And it all starts on the defensive end.

"We haven't played with the same sense of urgency on the defensive end that we need to," Barnes told the media on Monday. "Just little things...we haven't had the edge that we had a year ago."

The Vols got their first win at Rupp Arena in 12 years last season. They outlasted the Cats 61-59 thanks to 15 Kentucky turnovers and a poor shooting performance. In that game, the Wildcats only shot 42%.

But Saturday's game was drastically different. The fourth-ranked Wildcats shot 54% while Tennessee only managed to hit 40% of its shots.

Barnes said that the Vols' poor defensive play also hurt them on the offensive end.

"Last year we struggled at times to score, we just shot the ball, and that's what we did Saturday," he said. "Every guy thinking 'I've got to make something happen' instead of 'we've got to make something happen.'"

Barnes' team wasn't able to get much going on either end of the floor.

The Vols were out-rebounded 39-26 on Saturday night. They also got to the free-throw line for 15 less shot attempts than Kentucky.

Barnes is hoping that this setback brings his group back to the level they played defensively last season.

A level he hasn't seen his team reach all season.

"It's as simple as where we pick the ball up or where we want to be guarding in the halfcourt," he said. "It's a mindset. And we haven't had that really like we need to all year long."

UT will look to bounce back on Tuesday night when they host Vanderbilt. That one is set for a 7 p.m. ET tip on ESPN.